Iowa Learning Farms cover crop field day planned for June 15 near New Market

May 25, 2016

Ames, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms (ILF) will host a cover crop field day on Wednesday, June 15, from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Kelly and Irene Tobin’s farm, in rural New Market. The event is free and open to the public, and includes a complimentary meal.

Kelly, a Taylor County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner, began using no-till in 1979 and cover crops in 2008. “Cover crops and no-till go together. They control erosion, keep nutrients in the field and protect water quality. They also help build up the soil and improve profitability,” states Tobin.

Since 2008, Tobin has participated in a long-term cereal demonstration project with ILF, Practical Farmers of Iowa, and Iowa Cover Crop Working Group. After two years of seeding cereal rye, crimson clover and some radishes, Tobin has committed to using cover crops on all of the farm’s 400 crop acres. Tobin will share the best management practice for managing the cover crop and additional soil health benefits he has achieved, including improved soil infiltration.

Also speaking at the field day is Sarah Carlson, Midwest Cover Crop Council Research Coordinator for Practical Farmers of Iowa, who will share results from the long term cereal rye project demonstrated on Tobin’s farm and five other continuing sites across the state. The presence of nightcrawler earthworms in a field are a biological indicators of soil health. Results from an earthworm count study conducted at the Tobin farm and five additional sites will also be shared by Iowa Learning Farms staff.

The field day will be held at the Tobin Farm, 2056 Forest Ave, New Market. From Clarinda, take IA-2 E for 6 miles. When you reach New Market turn left on Main St (N26) and head north for 1 mile. Turn right to head east on 210th St. for 3 miles. Turn left to go north on Forest Ave for about 1/2 mile. Destination will be on the east side of the road. The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food prepared by Dessert First of Bedford. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website:

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms are the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), Conserva­tion Districts of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Water Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa.